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Owls in the Family

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  4,582 ratings  ·  409 reviews
Farley Mowat's funniest book tells the adventures of Wol and Weeps, two owls from Saskatchewan who shape up a whole neighbourhood, turn a house topsy-turvy, and outsmart Mutt, the dog hero of The Dog Who Wouldn't Be. Wol brings dead skunks to the family dinner table and terrorizes the minister, the postman, and the French teacher. Weeps is a comical bird, afraid of everyth ...more
Paperback, 91 pages
Published May 1996 by Yearling (first published 1961)
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Scott Shamblin Owls in the Family:
Owls in the Family is about a boy named Billy who finds a baby owl in an old abandoned nest. He brings him home and names him for C…more
Owls in the Family:
Owls in the Family is about a boy named Billy who finds a baby owl in an old abandoned nest. He brings him home and names him for Christopher Robin’s owl, Wol. Wol tries to make friends with the gophers, who think owls are natural enemies and he outsmarts Mutt the family dog.
When Mutt was eating Wol would go to the other side of the house and make a racket. Mutt would go to the other side of the house but Wol had already flown over and was eating Mutt’s dinner.
If you like hilarity and adventure this book is for you!
Heather There are a fair amount of outdated verbiage and attitudes in this book, which I did not notice when I read the book as a child in the 70’s, but certa…moreThere are a fair amount of outdated verbiage and attitudes in this book, which I did not notice when I read the book as a child in the 70’s, but certainly do now. Times have changed, and thankfully attitudes and language have changed too. I found equally disturbing the “last one in is a Dutchman” taunt, along with the callous way they ate Crow’s eggs and shot birds for really no reason. Even keeping wild animals at home is not something that any animal lover or conservationist would advocate these days. I look at it as a good discussion point about why those things are now seen as hurtful. The relationship with the Owls is fantastic, but another point of discussion could be around whether it was fair to the Owls to relocate them with another owner after they had been conditioned to Billy and his family for three years!(less)

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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  4,582 ratings  ·  409 reviews

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Mar 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Milos & Bronte & Scoutie & Noah
I don't know how true these memories are, but they are my memories, so they are true enough for this. Around 34 or 35 years ago, I went into my elementary school library and talked to Mrs. Dogleash (surely Mrs. Dalgliesh, like the famous Liverpool footballer and manager, but we always thought of her as Dogleash). I needed a book. She gave me Owls in the Family.

I remember the orange-gold shag carpet of my bedroom where I sat and read in the evening. I remember a flashlight and my crocheted blank
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kid, humor, canada, biog, animals, 1960s
Mowat's Owl story is, in my memory, a quick read sequel to Mutt's story. Decades after first reading it, the memory of the hilarious scene with the garage mechanic, the owls and goggled dog in the Mowat family car's rumble seat still brings a smile ... If you have an interest in owls, I suggest adding this to your TBR.

The Dog Who Wouldn't Be
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
A sweet little book about a young boy in Saskatoon raising two owls. One he purposefully set out to capture and raise, and the other he gets by accident when he finds some bullies torturing it. Wol and Weeps are two very different owls, but both of them have loads of personality, and my kids loved hearing about them.

It must also be noted that, though in the beginning some owls and other birds do die, they aren't anyone's pets, and it isn't the fault of the humans. WOL AND WEEPS DO NOT DIE.
I remembered loving this book from when I was a kid! My sister's favorite animals were owls, so we were in awe of Farley's family who had two pet owls. After looking around for this book in the library, I finally ordered it off Amazon. It was so worth it! It was a quick read of 3 sittings and all three of my kids loved it and we all laughed and laughed. I've liked most of Farley Mowatt's books, but I've never read his most famous book: Never Cry Wolf. Someday I'll get to that. ...more
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just love this book. It goes back in a time when boys could roam and explore. This boy captures two owls and they live at home with him! It is quite hilarious! I also love that it is a true story
Lisa  Reads
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful story about kids being the way kids were meant to be! Having adventures outside, off on their own, discovering what it is to live! And it had not one, but two, owls in the story all based on real life! I really enjoyed my Finer Books Club "vacation" book! And to top it all off, it had illustrations! ...more
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
We really enjoyed this book, but my youngest was very upset by the last chapter, when they moved to the city and left the owls with a friend.
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent story about youth, animals, kindness. Must read for kids especially.
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-alouds
Read-aloud. Now we wish we had an owl for a pet.
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a delightful book that was enjoyed by both my kids and me.
Beth Hollmann
Apr 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this book to my son, who is 8, for a book report he needed to do for school. I'd heard the book recommended often throughout my years of homeschooling, but never gotten around to actually reading it. I'm so glad I did! We both thoroughly enjoyed it. My son, in particular, enjoyed reading about boys who love the outdoors, like he does (although he has much less accessibility to wild space than they did). The book tells how Billy, the main character, and his friends Bruce and Murray, come a ...more
Laura Anne
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals
This one - broke my heart. A story of two Eagle owls (they're Big can fly off with a cat/dog), brought up by a boy in a north Canadian town. When the family have to move to the city, they take the owls a long way into the wild to release them more than 200 km away and guess what, one flies back to his home.
That's not the only heartbreak, one of the owls is rescued from "boys" torturing it - and the other stronger one literally takes the shocked baby under his wing.
Farley Mowat, animal lover, co
Kelly McLane
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very entertaining read! I really enjoyed that it is set in Saskatoon and surrounding area. It was interesting to learn what it used to be like here. The stories of a young boy and his pet owls are very funny and also teach a lot about owls!
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is so much fun to read about his owls. If you like them do read it. It is easily read in one day and a few laughs.
Such an enjoyable read! Billy's escapades with his pet owls are touching and amusing, especially Chapter 5 when Wol interacts with Mutt, the family dog. Hilarious! One of my favourite read-alouds! ...more
Esther Filbrun
A must-read for all families!

If you or someone you know loves animal stories, I’d highly recommend that you check this book out! It’s been a favorite of mine for a long time, and when I recently re-read it, I remembered just how much of a favorite it is for me.

Billy and his friends love animals, and when they decide to get owls for pets, they don’t expect to have as many as they end up with! The owls they do end up with are quite the characters. You won’t want to miss the story of Wol and Mutt!
Michael Fitzgerald
I see reference to a later "revised edition" and am curious what was later altered about this book. ...more
Laura Whichello
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a perfectly lovely book, impossible not to grin reading about the antics of Wol and Weeps! It makes me wish I'd grown up on the prairie alongside Billy and his friends too. ...more
Anthony Buck
Oct 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
My family are big fans of owls in general and so we were always likely to enjoy this book. It's a very evocative and engaging read, and it's got quite rough edges that mean it possibly wouldn't get published as a kids book today. Whether you see that as a positive or a negative is up to you! I personally thought it was ok as long as I was there to discuss certain parts with the kids (avoiding spoilers). ...more
Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺
I struggled between three and four stars on this one. It's an interesting tale, but for the most part, it's one of those children's books where each chapter is a separate adventure, and that's generally not my cup of tea. I ultimately went with four stars regardless since this book is just so readable and entertaining too. ...more
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
9/10 - So good! One of our favorite readalouds of the summer. Full review here: ...more
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: battle-books
This book made me miss my dad. It's the true story of a boy who raises two owls and the various adventures they have together. It both reminded me of him, and reminded me how much he enjoyed animal stories. I love that this book is still on our library's Battle of the Books list. It is so not politically correct and I loved for that. I loved that the father claimed he was going to give his son a whopping, that they dressed the owls in doll clothes for a pet parade, that the father guns down as m ...more
Candice Putnam
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading this book to a grade 4/5 class — by far my favourite chapter book read-aloud experience ever! We’ve been reading one chapter each week during library class for the past couple of months, and it quickly became something that the students, their teacher, and I looked forward to each week. We laughed so much throughout the entire book and were totally engrossed in every crazy, exciting chapter. At the end of the book, they all said “This can’t be the end! Is there a sequel?!” ...more
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Read this several years ago, and I remember liking it. I read it with a group of kids when I was working as a paraeducator.
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mom, ellie, jacob
Jacob's choice. Funny story about the antics of two owls. Great story for kids to see what fun they can have in nature and with pets. We loved it. ...more
A wonderful book! We read it aloud as a family and it was a favorite! We laughed a lot and enjoyed every bit of this heart-warming story.
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, children-ya
This little book is a hoot.
Dec 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-with-girls
An unexpected delight!

Based on true stories from the author's childhood, this is the story of a boy who adopts two great horned owls. It was RIGHT up my family's alley, both from a Charlotte Mason home school standpoint (these kids in the book knew all sorts of things about their area of Canada they could only learn from climbing trees, exploring ponds, and generally spending a ton of time alone outside) and from a seven-year-old-obsessed-with-birds standpoint (I have a seven-year-old obsessed w
5 stars & 5/10 hearts. Talk about a hilarious read. This one still makes me laugh even if I’ve read it many times. It is just FULL of hilarious anecdotes—related in the most humorous way. There’s a few euphemisms, a mention of a ghost, a mention of an Indian hanging himself, & a mention of the maid seeing visions. The owls have amazing personalities—Wol’s pranks are just hilarious, and his confusion when he tries to be human and owl. And the dog... oh, this whole thing is just crazy. Definitely ...more
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: animals
This is a fun book which is supposed to be something of a memoir about a boy raising owls. If you've read Rascal, it has similarities. There are a few things in it that are not geared to the sensibilities of our culture these days, and a couple words that could use altering, but there's nothing pervasive and you can easily edit if you see fit. Some of the stories have elements that may be at least quite exaggerated. Apparently this author is known for stretching truth in other writings, so take ...more
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Farley McGill Mowat was a conservationist and one of Canada's most widely-read authors.

Many of his most popular works have been memoirs of his childhood, his war service, and his work as a naturalist. His works have been translated into 52 languages and he has sold more than 14 million books.

Mowat studied biology at the University of Toronto. During a field trip to the Arctic, Mowat became outrage

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